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Instore Music Leader Turns Up the Volume in Asia through Hong Kong

UK company Imagesound has established an office in the city to serve retailers in the region

You may or may not be conscious of it, but many stores, especially those by brands with international presence, have their own unique background music with consistent and organised music playlists that seek to create a sense of place and to suit the time of the day/day of week. And what you hear may have been curated by UK company Imagesound Group.

Instore Music Leader Turns Up the Volume in Asia through Hong Kong

“It’s especially useful for brands which have stores across the world, where you are dealing with hundreds and even thousands of locations,” Paul Wong, Regional Consultant APAC, said. “Even for instances like Chinese New Year or Christmas, once you have decided on the direction we can push the seasonal music into the stores overnight.”

The company counts global brands among its clients and has served locations in Asia for years, but until recently, it was only represented in the region by individual consultants. In 2015, it opened a regional headquarters in Hong Kong, in addition to one in Los Angeles serving the US market.

“Hong Kong is geographically and culturally diverse, a location where you can find K-pop fans, J-pop fans or Mando-pop fans. We want to have more localisation across Asia and Hong Kong is a great place for doing that,” he said.

“Hong Kong is one of the most business-friendly cites in the world. It has become even easier to do business here for creative industries, with co-working spaces in creative hubs becoming more prevalent. Any good business requires talent, of which Hong Kong has a diverse pool.”

Founded in 1998, Imagesound has built up a clientele consisting of many international hotel groups and retail chains, in addition to food and beverage outlets and gyms. It services 30,000+ locations in 142 countries.

The success of the company is firmly hinged on technology. Through a small black box, a store’s speaker system can be linked via the Internet to the company’s music bank of tracks across every possible genre. Gone are the days when updating the playlist required sending hundreds or even thousands of CDs to locations around the world.

“Customers and guests today are becoming hyper-aware of the places they eat, shop and stay—so music and the curation behind it, are even more important for brands looking to form stronger bonds with their customers, and to develop a strong in-venue point of view. We have a proprietary app for Android, iOS or PC, and once you have the downloaded the app we push the brands’ unique music profile to it. Staff can also engage with the list and see what is being played,” he said.

Location-by-location customisation is also possible. A playlist may have 70 percent of a brand’s unique “core sound” and 30 percent of music catering to customers of a specific market.

Imagesound hires more than 100 people globally and it plans to eventually do the same with the Hong Kong office as it develops into a fully-fledged regional hub.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Founded in 1998 in the UK, with its regional headquarters set up in Hong Kong in 2015
  • Connects some 30,000+ locations in 142 countries to a music bank of hundreds of thousands of songs from every genre imaginable
  • Plans to develop a fully-fledged regional hub in Hong Kong to serve Asian markets

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